Tips for riding in the rain


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Tips for riding in the rain

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:55 am



Riding in rain is something some people avoid at all costs - and others just embrace as a fact of life.

Does anyone actually enjoy riding in the rain? I doubt it. But with the proper equipment and techniques, it can be made as safe and fun as possible.

I was thinking of some of the things I do in order to make this possible - feel free to add to this list with any ideas you have.

Preparation:

Proper rain gear is really essential. You can ride through a quick shower without it, especially if you're going to dry out afterwards, and it's not too cold - but for extended riding through rain, especially if it's cold, you need rain gear. It should be breathable so you don't swelter. Waterproof gloves and boots are a must - there's nothing more miserable than riding with wet hands and feet. If need be, bring along some plastic shopping bags and latex (or nitrile) gloves. Put your feet in the plastic bags before putting on your boots, and put the latex gloves on your hands before putting on your riding gloves. This way your (non-waterproof) gloves and boots will be wet, but you will remain dry.

You should have a helmet with a face shield. Ever had a bug or pebble hit you in the face above 30 mph? It hurts. Rain feels the same way - and there's a lot more rain than bugs! A full-face helmet is much better, because it doesn't let rain leak inside.

Make sure your tires are up to the task! Worn tires with not much left in the way of grooves are not going to move much water away, which can lead to hydroplaning. Hydroplaning on a motorcycle is a Really Bad Thing.

Put some rain compound specifically designed for plastic (not Rain-X, which will haze plastic) on your windshield and helmet visor. This helps to bead up raindrops and move it out of your field of view.

Stash a bunch of Ziploc bags in a cubby. If you have electronics mounted to your handlebars, or inside your jacket pockets, cover them with the Ziploc bags to keep them from getting wet.

Riding:

Slow down! Your traction is reduced significantly. Braking distances are much longer. Cornering adhesion is much less. Visibility is less. Rain affects traction for motorcycles much more significantly than it does for cars.

Watch the road. Things that weren't slippery before, now are. Things that were a bit slippery in the dry, are now like ice. Painted lines on the road are slick. Metal plates, manhole covers, train tracks and metal grates are very dangerous. Make sure you are upright, not attempting to turn, and not accelerating or braking when crossing them.

Be extremely careful for the first 30 to 60 minutes after rain begins. Oils and contaminants on the road will be displaced and create extremely slick surfaces. Until the rain washes these away, assume it's everywhere - but especially at intersections, where cars sit and drip oil onto the road. Watch for rainbow-like reflections, which indicate oil on top of water.

Be wary of puddles, and avoid them if at all possible. Not only can you aquaplane if the puddle is deeper than you think, the puddle could be hiding a pothole. How would you like to find out the hard way that the puddle you're about to ride through is hiding an eight-inch deep hole?

Ride as smoothly as possible. This means gentle acceleration, gentle braking, gentle cornering. In every transition from riding to braking, from cornering to acceleration, do so as smoothly and gently as possible. It is much easier to break your tires free on slippery, wet roads than on dry roads. When braking, give yourself much more distance than you would normally require. Allow much more space between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Relax! Riding tensed up is not only tiring, it is the enemy of smoothness.

Stay visible to the traffic around you. If you have high-visibility gear, it's a good time to use it. Heavy rain and spray from other vehicles can easily obscure you. If you're riding in daytime, don't be afraid to use your high beams around other vehicles to make yourself more visible.

If you see lightning and thunder, stop riding and head for cover. Cover means under a bridge overpass or at a rest stop - not under a tree! A rider on a motorcycle is normally taller than most cars, and this literally makes you a lightning rod, riding down the road. Being struck by lightning is usually lethal!



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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby jdavidsmit » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:12 pm

I have a funny sort of tale about riding in the rain. i was in Tallahassee Florida getting ready to head home after a football game, wanting to beat the Florida afternoon thunder storm, said good by to my son jumped on the bike and headed out, only had a small overnight bag and it fit in the trunk. stopped to fill up and noticed the rain was closer than i though so i put on my rain gear. (note here) rain gear is 4 years old never even out of the original package. threw leg over bike and the pants split alone the seam front to rear. thinking well legs and feet will stay dry. headed out east on I-10 notice the cars passing were wet and some still had wipers on, but i could see sun shine ahead, so i speed-ed up. those living in Florida knows it can rain and on one side of the street and be dry on the other, started to see a few drops but the sun shine is closer, speed-ed up so more. and it hit, full force summer storm, found nearest underpass and stopped. by now everything below my waist is wet including inside my boots, as im waiting the i decide to get further off the road, this underpass the pavement goes all the way to the bank about 20 feet off the road. so i sit and watch the traffic, a couple other bikes pull off and we wait it out.

As we sat there a car comes sliding through sideways barely missing our bikes remember we are about 20 feet off the road. The driver gets out walks around her car, never even acknowledged we were 30 feet away, jumps back into her car spins out and and down the road she goes. we are staring in disbelief. a few min more the rain stopped, we headed out about 2 miles further, hit a traffic jam and as we rode the by the accident it was the same car was on its top in the ditch and the lady was kicking it, she did not appear injured just mad.
made it home safe and purchased a new set of rain gear, still have not needed to use them and hope i don't.
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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby roadwanderer2 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:27 pm

here's something you might want to consider having on your bike especially if you ride year round and get caught in a lot of rain. viewtopic.php?f=10&t=25440&p=141902&hilit=motorized+windshield+wiper#p141902

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby NVSB4 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:01 pm

WingAdmin wrote:Be wary of puddles, and avoid them if at all possible.


One thing you forgot was to watch out for the splash that cars can make when going through puddles close to you.
We've all had our car windshields soaked by an oncoming car and not be able to see.
That extra force of water can knock you for a loop.
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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby roadwanderer2 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:55 pm

NVSB4 wrote:
WingAdmin wrote:Be wary of puddles, and avoid them if at all possible.


One thing you forgot was to watch out for the splash that cars can make when going through puddles close to you.
We've all had our car windshields soaked by an oncoming car and not be able to see.
That extra force of water can knock you for a loop.


been there, had that happen, but if you have a windshield wiper on your bike, you'll be able to see where your going with one swipe of the blade while keeping both hands on the handlebars.

stuart.

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby brettchallenger » Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:28 pm

"If you see lightning and thunder, stop riding and head for cover. Cover means under a bridge overpass or at a rest stop - not under a tree! A rider on a motorcycle is normally taller than most cars, and this literally makes you a lightning rod, riding down the road. Being struck by lightning is usually lethal!"



I don't for a minute doubt the probable outcome of being struck by lightening whilst riding but I have never actually heard of any rider meeting his end in this manner. Does anyone have records of such an incident?
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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby roadwanderer2 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:46 pm

brettchallenger wrote:"If you see lightning and thunder, stop riding and head for cover. Cover means under a bridge overpass or at a rest stop - not under a tree! A rider on a motorcycle is normally taller than most cars, and this literally makes you a lightning rod, riding down the road. Being struck by lightning is usually lethal!"



I don't for a minute doubt the probable outcome of being struck by lightening whilst riding but I have never actually heard of any rider meeting his end in this manner. Does anyone have records of such an incident?


yes, here's one for ya.....http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/mo ... ing-strike

stuart.

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby Harp » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:34 pm

Thanks for the great info. I received my 1st training in a long distance hard rain ride early this year. I used to just avoid rainy days. Took a trip to Stone Pony in Columbus, OH from Cleveland. My cousin had to stop a few times and wanted to eat, so we were caught in a hard rain on I-71. I was very glad I had purchased rain gear and used it. Semi-trucks flying by at 75mph were a little scary. Everything, as you noted, seemed a bit more slippery.After a half hour of rain, things were a little less tense - could be that I relaxed a little. The tar strips used to patch cracks in asphalt were my surprise. When I came across the 1st one, I felt the front tire slip & catch just a bit. This really scared the sh.. out of me. I realized that I needed to slow down & settle down or wait it out. Slowing down was the key. i just let everyone fly by. After I hit 271, the rain let up and the rest of the ride was easy. This was a good lesson for me and I appreciate the additional information.
Thanks, Harp 8-)

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby GRAPEAPE94 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:47 pm

Being a long distance rider I have spent more than my fair share of time in the rain. Bridges are handy if available have also spent time in a coin car wash in N.C. at night when it started to hail. That was the year I rode straight thru from Akron to Venice, Fl. in the rain the whole way. My normal 19 hour ride took 23 hours.

I hate it when a semi would pass me. The spray would almost blind me. I have learned to just slow down and take it easy. It might take me a bit longer to get where I want to go but I will get there.

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby roadwanderer2 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:37 am

check this site out....http://www.roaddogwiper.com

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby dingdong » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:34 am

I don't really enjoy riding in the rain however I don't mind it either unless it is in cold weather. I don't remember ever being on an extended ride and not riding in the rain at some point. One that comes to mind is riding across New Mexico at night surrounded by thunder storms in all directions. Lightening flashing, thunder rolling and the rain falling in buckets. Out there there are expanses with no place to hide so you just keep riding. I finally found a rest area where I could pull in and park for the night. Scary and exciting but what can you do? On our trip this year to California it even rained on us for a short time crossing Death Valley. Rain gear is is always packed in the bike no matter what.

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:51 am

dingdong wrote:I don't really enjoy riding in the rain however I don't mind it either unless it is in cold weather. I don't remember ever being on an extended ride and not riding in the rain at some point. One that comes to mind is riding across New Mexico at night surrounded by thunder storms in all directions. Lightening flashing, thunder rolling and the rain falling in buckets. Out there there are expanses with no place to hide so you just keep riding. I finally found a rest area where I could pull in and park for the night. Scary and exciting but what can you do? On our trip this year to California it even rained on us for a short time crossing Death Valley. Rain gear is is always packed in the bike no matter what.

Tom


My rain gear (Olympia Horizon) packs up into its own little built-in pouches, and I have those stuffed in my saddlebag all the time.

I had a similar experience coming back from Florida (Kissimmee) to Cleveland. My original plan was to ride back over two days, after having done the trip down nonstop a few days earlier. However the weather (thunderstorms along most of the route) had me delay my return, hoping the weather would improve - it didn't.

So Sunday came along, I had to be at home for work on Monday, so at 5:00 am I set off hoping to beat some storms showing on the radar. They caught up with me about 15 minutes in, and I quickly stopped and pulled on the rain gear. I had that rain gear on for the rest of that 20 hour ride.

I ended up riding up through extremely flat Florida on I-95, in complete darkness, absolute pouring rain, with lightning flashing all around me. Visibility was so poor due to the horrendous amount of rain coming down, I couldn't see the lines on the road - I kept a tractor trailer about 1000 feet in front of me and followed his taillights, because that's about all I could see. I also stayed in his tire tracks, as his big wide tires were pushing a lot of the water out of the lane we were both using. I spent about an hour and a half doing this before the rain let up somewhat.

It rained pretty much the entire trip back, with a few respites here and there. What a miserable trip. :)

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby roadwanderer2 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:11 pm

WingAdmin wrote:
dingdong wrote:I don't really enjoy riding in the rain however I don't mind it either unless it is in cold weather. I don't remember ever being on an extended ride and not riding in the rain at some point. One that comes to mind is riding across New Mexico at night surrounded by thunder storms in all directions. Lightening flashing, thunder rolling and the rain falling in buckets. Out there there are expanses with no place to hide so you just keep riding. I finally found a rest area where I could pull in and park for the night. Scary and exciting but what can you do? On our trip this year to California it even rained on us for a short time crossing Death Valley. Rain gear is is always packed in the bike no matter what.

Tom


My rain gear (Olympia Horizon) packs up into its own little built-in pouches, and I have those stuffed in my saddlebag all the time.

I had a similar experience coming back from Florida (Kissimmee) to Cleveland. My original plan was to ride back over two days, after having done the trip down nonstop a few days earlier. However the weather (thunderstorms along most of the route) had me delay my return, hoping the weather would improve - it didn't.

So Sunday came along, I had to be at home for work on Monday, so at 5:00 am I set off hoping to beat some storms showing on the radar. They caught up with me about 15 minutes in, and I quickly stopped and pulled on the rain gear. I had that rain gear on for the rest of that 20 hour ride.

I ended up riding up through extremely flat Florida on I-95, in complete darkness, absolute pouring rain, with lightning flashing all around me. Visibility was so poor due to the horrendous amount of rain coming down, I couldn't see the lines on the road - I kept a tractor trailer about 1000 feet in front of me and followed his taillights, because that's about all I could see. I also stayed in his tire tracks, as his big wide tires were pushing a lot of the water out of the lane we were both using. I spent about an hour and a half doing this before the rain let up somewhat.

It rained pretty much the entire trip back, with a few respites here and there. What a miserable trip. :)


i had a similar ride on my way back up from Florida last year. i was coming thru the mountains of s. Carolina to the Tennessee border, and it was also pitch dark, couldn't see the lines in the road, no where to hide from the down pouring rain, almost ran into the guardrail on the side of the mountain a couple of times, and what made it even worse is all my dash lights went out so i couldn't see any of my gauges. finally met up with a truck convoy and i slipped inbetween 2 18 wheelers to follow its tail lights. the entire ride about 15 miles thru the mountains i couldn't go any faster than about 10mph. the rain finally let up slightly once i got across the border into Tennessee. at that time, i didn't have the windshield wiper on my bike. what a scary ride that was.

stuart.

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby offcenter » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:41 pm

brettchallenger wrote:I don't for a minute doubt the probable outcome of being struck by lightening whilst riding but I have never actually heard of any rider meeting his end in this manner. Does anyone have records of such an incident?


No actual records, but I knew a guy many years ago who told me this story. Seems he and his buddy were riding his Sportster in the rain on Columbia Turnpike near Morristown Airport here in New Jersey in the early 1970s. He said lightning picked his buddy right off the back of the bike. His buddy died instantly but he never felt a thing himself. All he heard was a BANG and his friend was gone.
Never forgot that story and I stay off the road during thunder storms.
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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby roadwanderer2 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:58 pm

offcenter wrote:
brettchallenger wrote:I don't for a minute doubt the probable outcome of being struck by lightening whilst riding but I have never actually heard of any rider meeting his end in this manner. Does anyone have records of such an incident?


No actual records, but I knew a guy many years ago who told me this story. Seems he and his buddy were riding his Sportster in the rain on Columbia Turnpike near Morristown Airport here in New Jersey in the early 1970s. He said lightning picked his buddy right off the back of the bike. His buddy died instantly but he never felt a thing himself. All he heard was a BANG and his friend was gone.
Never forgot that story and I stay off the road during thunder storms.


sad to hear it, but your friend is very lucky he didn't die from that lightning strike also. i know exactly where your talking about, i used to live in Morristown, Parsippany and Boonton where i bought my first house when i moved out of new York city.

stuart.

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby Happytrails » Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:42 pm

WingAdmin wrote:Be extremely careful for the first 30 to 60 minutes after rain begins. Oils and contaminants on the road will be displaced and create extremely slick surfaces. Until the rain washes these away, assume it's everywhere - but especially at intersections, where cars sit and drip oil onto the road. Watch for rainbow-like reflections, which indicate oil on top of water.


I'd probably enjoy rain riding much more but for the fact of getting dooshed in road filth. For some reason loads of diesel and fuel get dumped onto the roads around here not to mention the oil, coolant and crude that comes from other vehicles. Add water and then riding thru it isn't pleasing whatsoever. Got caught in rain many times but avoid it if I can.
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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:54 am

Happytrails wrote:
WingAdmin wrote:Be extremely careful for the first 30 to 60 minutes after rain begins. Oils and contaminants on the road will be displaced and create extremely slick surfaces. Until the rain washes these away, assume it's everywhere - but especially at intersections, where cars sit and drip oil onto the road. Watch for rainbow-like reflections, which indicate oil on top of water.


I'd probably enjoy rain riding much more but for the fact of getting dooshed in road filth. For some reason loads of diesel and fuel get dumped onto the roads around here not to mention the oil, coolant and crude that comes from other vehicles. Add water and then riding thru it isn't pleasing whatsoever. Got caught in rain many times but avoid it if I can.


That's probably one of the things I hate most about encountering rain - I know my bike will be covered in filth afterwards. And with a white bike, that filth shows up pretty obviously.

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby GLRT » Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:33 am

For me riding in the rain is not a big deal however I shy away from riding into work in the rain as I don't want to appear as I just peed my pants and put up with the abuse all day.

For me besides rain gear the biggest thing is a full face helmet with visor and low windscreen. Wind hitting the visor keeps it clear and not having to try to look through a fogged up rain drip crowded windshield is a must.
Hydro planning is a real issue so good advice all around with the slow down and watch for standing water. I ride reverse trikes which help a lot in the traction area but standing water is tough with all vehicles.
My riding partners are into the fashion thing and therefore a full face is out for them and boy do they suffer. And this is another point, best advice all around is put function ahead of fashion and you will be happier, healthier and enjoy all variations of riding weather much more.

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby WingzRider » Thu Jul 02, 2015 8:50 am

"Had a 'rain-ride' once". After "losing an extra week" on vacation in Rocky Mtn Natl Park. So I had to hustle (big-time) home to (at the time) NY. Nasty Weather Sys was moving x-ctry from W to E. Couldn't outride & get ahead of it. Couldn't hole up and let it get far ahead of me because I really needed the job I'm already one week overdue gettin' back to. 4 solid days of unending heavy rain. Oftentimes with very heavy fog too. That was a weird combo. Sometimes had to literally tailgate tractor-trailer big-rigs for "protection" and so their dimly-seeable taillights could tell me which way the road went. Obviously, this was in my "I'm Indesctructible" early-20s mindset of long-ago yesteryear. On a Harley "Low Rider" Superglide, no less. With no windshield, and the El Indestructible Mindset also dictated that full helmets with face-shields are for "pussies". AKA my first-ever lesson in "How To Not Ride Cross-Country". So ask me why I've loved my full-dresser Beemer (and then, mostly) my GWs ever since. Best part o' this tale was I never even lost the job for ridin' around the Rockies for an extra week of vacation I wasn't supposed to have! The "Rain-Ride" was Worth It! :lol:

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby roadwanderer2 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 12:35 pm

well, im supposed to be leaving here, (eastern Tennessee) for the Florida keys this coming Monday, and as i am checking the weather reports and maps, its supposed to rain from here all the way down into Miami Florida thru next week with only one day, (next Thursday) having cloud cover. now i don't mind riding in the rain since i have good rain gear and an electric windshield wiper on my bike, im not really looking forward to ride 900 miles thru rain and heavy thunderstorms. i did that last year and got stuck a few times. im now contemplating postponing my ride until the beginning of august.

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby NVSB4 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 4:25 pm

Only hijacking a little bit. :roll:

Discussion is about riding in the rain, but I wanted to bring up another horrible condition to ride in, high winds.
Riding to and from work today on the highway with 25 mph winds and gusts up to 40 mph.
Combine that and buffering from the trucks and you've really got yourself a rodeo.
Didn't know this 1000 lb bike could dance like that.

You've really got to stay alert and hold on tight.
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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby roadwanderer2 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:17 pm

NVSB4 wrote:Only hijacking a little bit. :roll:

Discussion is about riding in the rain, but I wanted to bring up another horrible condition to ride in, high winds.
Riding to and from work today on the highway with 25 mph winds and gusts up to 40 mph.
Combine that and buffering from the trucks and you've really got yourself a rodeo.
Didn't know this 1000 lb bike could dance like that.

You've really got to stay alert and hold on tight.


oh yeah, they definitely do wanna squirm around. the only bike i had that never gave me any problems as far as cross winds and behind big rigs was believe it or not, my 82 Honda CM400E. that bike was super sturdy when it came to crosswinds and being behind 18 wheelers. my 81 GL500i silverwing interstate was horrible in the wind and behind big rigs as is my GL1100. wish there was a way to make it more wind resistant. maybe adding a couple of mini wings on the leading edges of the fairing might help?

stuart.

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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby dingdong » Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:45 am

NVSB4 wrote:Only hijacking a little bit. :roll:

Discussion is about riding in the rain, but I wanted to bring up another horrible condition to ride in, high winds.
Riding to and from work today on the highway with 25 mph winds and gusts up to 40 mph.
Combine that and buffering from the trucks and you've really got yourself a rodeo.
Didn't know this 1000 lb bike could dance like that.

You've really got to stay alert and hold on tight.


Actually you are in better control if you don't hold on tight. Ride with a relaxed grip and let the bike take it's own path. It will handle the winds better that way. But yeah, not fun in high winds. Here in Oklahoma that is a common occurrence however.

Tom
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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby NVSB4 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:33 am

dingdong wrote:But yeah, not fun in high winds. Here in Oklahoma that is a common occurrence however. Tom


We're in the same corridor here in DFW. North winds come down from you and South winds come up through me.
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Re: Tips for riding in the rain

Postby redial » Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:04 pm

We're in the same corridor here in DFW. North winds come down from you and South winds come up through me.


I hope you excuse yourself when that happens. And perhaps that is why the HDs sound so loud :lol:


Len in Kapunda

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